Books to Learn About China

The Chinese Mind (4*) by Boyé Lafayette de Mente (a bit dry but quite good overall introduction to Chinese culture)

The Rape of Nanking:  The Forgotten Holocaust of World War II  (4*) by Iris Chang (some Western, or at least American, education was quite weak on the impacts of WWII on China.  I found this book very helpful to understand historical context and even the modern view of Japan in China)

Alibaba:  The House that Jack Ma Built (3*) by Duncan Clark (enjoyable biography of one of China’s famous entrepreneurs.  I personally enjoyed the Hangzhou connection as well as Ma’s story and insights to China)

River Town:  Two Years on the Yangtze (5*) by Peter Hessler (although perhaps a bit dated now, I enjoyed this American Peace Corp’s tale of living in a remote Sichuan province and experiencing China through his eyes)

Country Driving:  A Chinese Road Trip (5*) by Peter Hessler (another book of China through an American journalist’s eyes, quite enjoyable and at times relatable to my own experiences working in China)

Crazy Rich Asians (5*) by Kevin Kwan (while this is fictional and based on ethnic Han Chinese in Singapore, I still found some insights to understanding Asian culture and behavior, particularly the not-so-subtle racism and classism that exists)

Decoding China (4*) by Matthew B. Christensen (similar to A Chinese Mind in it is a comprehensive guide to interacting with China, but this is a more simple to read version with practical tips and instruction)

Doing Business in China:  The Sun Tzu Way (4*) by Laurence J. Brahm (particularly relevant for negotiating or understanding what can seem strange or tough business behavior)

Chinese Rules:  Five Timeless Lessons for Succeeding in China (4*) by Tim Clissold (now China from a British perspective, with guidelines and insights for business)

Factory Girls:  Voices from the Heart of Modern China (5*) by Leslie T. Chang (this is a book I really enjoyed and recommend a lot to people to understand more ordinary life in China.  Coming from Western countries, it is often hard to understand the economic hunger and single-minded work ethic from our Chinese colleagues.  While this book speaks about factory workers, I have seen many parallels to the stories told by my professional engineering colleagues.)

101 Stories for Foreigners to Understand Chinese People (3*) by Yi S. Ellis with Bryan D. Ellis (fun and insightful stories to understand China, with the view from a multicultural couple)

Inheritance by Lan Samantha Chang (fictional history of WWII China and after)